The tragic case of Jahi McMath continues to spin. Aside from the ethical questions, which are not insignificant, there are pastoral ones. A child suffers cardiac arrest and brain death after a routine minor operation. Medical error or accident? Would a family trust such the same facility to make an end-of-life call? Would anybody reasonably expect that? The family is black. If the administrators white, does the shadow of racism fall across this case, in part? Is a grieving family simply unable to let go? Will legal procedures help any of this?
It would seem that any doctor associated with Children’s Hospital Oakland is too tainted to make the medical call. How else can one hope to communicate an unbiased situation to a family in pain and anger? Why place professionals in potential opposition to either their code of ethics or to the profit interest of a governing corporation?
Parents are not going to want to let go of a child in more ordinary circumstances, let alone when the hospital itself acknowledges they don’t know why the girl had such a severe reaction after surgery.
The McMath family wants to transfer the child to another facility. It seems Children’s Hospital Oakland is putting up a lot of obstacles for someone they believe to be dead:
Children’s Hospital has said it would facilitate the transfer by allowing an outside doctor to fit Jahi with breathing and feeding tubes, but only under certain conditions. The hospital says it needs to speak directly with a new facility to make sure officials there understand Jahi’s status, to confirm there is a lawful medical transportation plan for moving the girl and to verify the coroner has approved the move.
If Jahi McMath is dead, it seems that the coroner is the only person who needs to be consulted. If a coroner confirms death occurred when the hospital says it did, then it would seem that the hospital’s moral and legal liability does not continue past the transfer date. The only tricky thing is if the girl has any hope of recovering. Are the conditions being placed by legal counsel “just in case” the girl wakes up and someone is found to have messed it all up.
Is citizen skepticism of large, faceless, unfeeling corporations justified? Is the marriage of capitalism and medical practice going to raise troubles on expensive issues? It took Michael Schiavo a few years to concede his wife was dead. Her family seems never to have gotten to that point. Is it good that one family feud lives on in new cases such as this one? How are people able to have the tools to discern when it is time to fight and when it is time to let go?
How would I react and decide if it were my daughter involved?